"Free space low in server backup" RRS feed

  • Question

  • A thread from back in February suggests that the server backup is self-pruning. Or maybe not. And maybe if you have 1.5x the amount being backed up you are fine. And maybe not.

    My experience so far: The free space reported on the backup target disk has been steadily shrinking. The oldest listed backups have been disappearing from the list. Judging by dates of the backup list, the list is becoming shorter, fewer backups listed, over time--I'm guessing this is a reaction to growth in total amount backed up--primarily contributed by the growth of the new client backup set as the retention periods are being filled. Since I allow 5 weeks and 25 months and have had the server running for only a little over a month, the client backup set will continue to grow for some time and perhaps faster than the amount of data added to the server otherwise. Net, there is some evidence that this purge is maybe happening in terms of the backup list but not so much in terms of ever once having seen free space on this disk increase or approach some kind of stasis.

    I have a 1TB drive doing server backup. I'm only backing up 33.3GB (probably less since it probably doesn't backup paging) of OS + 1.4GB + 258.2GB + 275GB. The backup target is now down to 85.6GB free and a Warning Alert has been raised.

    The alert offers the unhelpful thoughts that you can use a larger hard disk or backup less data and give no hint of automagic pruning.

    Assuming pruning is actually working and will keep the backup target from completely filling, is this alert now just a permanent warning? What's the point of a warning alert if the pruning process only prunes to a level that provides less free space than the warning is raised for? Unless pruning is designed to preserve both not older than X days and not less than Y free space--where Y is > than the warning level--wouldn't every backup sooner or later get to that state regardless of the size of the taget disk even with the target disk much larger than the amount of data being backed up?

    Those are perhaps rhetorical questions. The quesiton I'd like feedback to is what are other users experiencing with long term server backups and the warning alert?

    • Edited by Dick Watson Friday, September 23, 2011 3:16 AM
    Friday, September 23, 2011 3:12 AM

All replies

  • WHS 2011 Server Backup moves in mysterious ways, its wonders to perform - or not.

    I have conflicting data. On one of my backup drives, when it becomes full, then WHS 2011 seems to reformat the drive and start anew. With the second drive, it either fails, or hobbles along with only a few gigabyte free each time it does a backup.

    It does not inspire confidence.

    • Edited by Geoffc1 Saturday, September 24, 2011 1:45 PM
    Friday, September 23, 2011 3:01 PM
  • I have a different experience. When the disk filled up, older backups were removed and a new backup was made successfully but leaving only a few GB free and hence a low backup space warning. I went away on a trip for a few days and backups continued successfully but, the free space on my 2TB disk was suddenly 846GB!
    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Saturday, September 24, 2011 5:43 PM
  • Thank you for the input on that, been watching it also, wanted to see what it would do when the backup disk filled. I haven't really pushed a lot of data over until I could see what would happen. Right now mine is at the "warning" stage with a couple of GB's free.
    Once I see free space clear up, as it did for you, I will feel a lot better. I saw others had moved tons of storage over to see what it would do but I wanted to let it happen in a real scenario.
    Hopefully within the next couple of days it will clear itself up.

    Saturday, September 24, 2011 11:55 PM
  • Just confirmation that I am seeing similar results to Phil as he mentioned above.

    My backups to an external 500GB drive have been stable at around 400GB for several weeks. A week ago the space used on the backup drive dropped to around 250Gb. A while back I moved some data from a client to shares on the server. It would appear that the client backup containg that data has just been pruned.

    The server shares are not backed up to the USB drive but to another machine using Synctoy.

    @ Geoffc1 WHS 2011 Server Backup moves in mysterious ways, its wonders to perform - or not.

    The best comment I have seen so far on WHS 2011 backup. :)


    The Frog on the Lilypad at Home
    Sunday, September 25, 2011 8:24 PM
  • On my server I have been getting the warnings from start, it's backing up and pruning old backups.

    Haven't seen any problems with the backups. So I tend to ignore the warnings. Mostly because I am not interested in 'historical' backups to restore files to a state back in time. In my case I am only interested in a recent backup to restore the server when bad things happen.

    As far as I know these warnings just tell me the backup disk is nearly full and the server is deleting older backups to free up space.
    I have a choice to eighter accept the fact that older backups are deleted or to replace the backup drive with a fresh disk (storing the current disk at a safe place off-site).

    - Theo.

    No home server like Home Server
    • Edited by Theo van Elsberg Monday, September 26, 2011 9:59 AM
    • Proposed as answer by Ken Warren Monday, September 26, 2011 12:36 PM
    Monday, September 26, 2011 9:55 AM
  • Mine did today what it was supposed to do. As you stated it "pruned" the old backups and I have plenty of room without alerts.
    What still is available, if you want to, is the ability to find a file from an old "client" backup. In other words the backups of the individual computers still go back to the times that are set up in WHS 2011. I went back and looked for a file in April of this year and was able to bring it back to my client.
    Everything is working just as it is supposed to.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 12:28 AM
  • Mine seems to be near a stasis on free space (not much) so I'm guessing it really is weeding out the older ones. I guess this is what it's supposed to do based on reports here but haven't seen it documented and the help for the Alert says that you only have two choices: re-format or replace. It does not offer "leave alone and it'll will manage itself" as a choice.

    Anyway, thanks to all for providing some insight on what to expect it to do going forward.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 4:15 AM
  • Could you (or someone) please bug this? If everything is working, the alert that space on the backup drive is low is noise and shouldn't happen IMO.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 1:45 PM
  • For myself it starts with a 10% disk space issue warning you that the server backup disk is reaching capacity. The alert stays in that status until it actually does the work and cleans it up.
    Wouldn't this be "as expected", you get the warning and then have time to do something about it?
    If you don't think so I will go ahead and bug it, MS will probably mark it as such "as expected".

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 10:02 PM
  • I will open a Bug. I agree that this "alert" makes sense in the context that the user wants to do something but it does not make sense in a context where a user is content to let WHS manage the store. Not sure how the poor designer has a way to know. But at least the diagnostic information could recognize the possibility and tell the user that they only *must* worry in one of two situations:

    1) The user is trying to back up so much data that i just doesn't fit, or

    2) The user WANTS more depth of old backups before they get weeded out.

    My free space continues to trend down and is now <5%. I sure hope it know what it's doing. The alert still sits there on Ignore. Even if it knows what it's doing, I'm not sure I'll ever see it go away.

    FWIW: https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/details/691229/alert-free-space-low-in-server-backup-more-or-less-useless
    • Edited by Dick Watson Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:00 AM added link to the bug report
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 1:23 AM
  • Thanks, Dick. The reporting will be limited because there's only so much information available from the OS backup tools, but I think your first case is actually covered. I don't think you're allowed to select more data than will fit on the disk, or more than 2 TB in any case.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:54 AM
  • I've selected far more storage than my backup target disk. It's not all full now so it works. I suspect if I filled it, it'd be another story and maybe some different error. But I selected the (larger than target) source file systems, no problem.
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:01 AM
  • My backup has just started reporting errors on free space.  Checking reveals i have 126GB free (1.5TB drive).  I am happy for it to rotate my backups and start pruning, what annoys me i have a constant error stating the drive is full.  If the drive is dedicated to backups, who cares if its full or not.


    Something for microsoft to fix i think - turn off disk space reporting on "dedicated" backup drives.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 7:02 PM
  • My backup has just started reporting errors on free space.

    Where is this error reported? If it's in the Dashboard, I agree with you. If it's only visible when you log in to the server desktop, I doubt Microsoft will do anything.

    And what error is reported?

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 7:10 PM
  • I've selected far more storage than my backup target disk. [..

    As a result you should get an error (the red one - so not a warning) signaling the backup (partially) failed on the next server backup window.

    - Theo.

    No home server like Home Server
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 8:34 PM